RIVERSIDE – Federal agents arrested nine men in a child pornography crackdown conducted across two Southern California counties last week, but the sweeps will continue according to the United States Attorney’s office.
One man will be arraigned today in a Los Angeles courtroom.
The arrest of Michael Peterson, 58, of Ontario, led authorities to others who were arrested in the sweep.
Among others arrested included a La Quinta man, David Christopher Jelaca, 37, who was described as not only distributing child pornography to a minor, but also enticing a minor for sexual purposes, according to a release by Thom Mrozak of the U.S. Attorney’s office.
Jelaca told undercover agents who emailed him after posting a Craigslist ad seeking a “Dirty Daddy who likes to share his daughter’s dirty panties, “that he has had sex with girls as young as 15, according to the office.
A search of his home turned up more than 26,000 photos and 55 videos that allegedly depicted child pornography, said the office.
“The victimization of children for sexual purposes is one of the most heinous crimes imaginable,” U.S. Attorney André Birotte Jr. said in a statement. “That is why prosecuting child predators is one of the top priorities of the Justice Department.”
Agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security took a lead role in the raids.
The other men arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations team included Peterson, whose more than a half-million images and 7,500 videos amounted to one of the largest collections of child pornography ever found, Mrozak said. He’s been charged with having, receiving and distributing child pornography.
The investigation of Mrozak led to the others who were involved in the downloading of pornography.
• Alexander Scott Branson, 25, of Upland, indicted on charges of having and receiving child pornography.
• Bolivar Arnoldo Guillen, 59, of Rancho Cucamonga, charged with having child pornography.
• Ronald R. Jaenson, 66, of Colton, charged with having child pornography.
• John Anthony Serrano, 37, of Barstow, charged with having, receiving and distributing child pornography.
• Anthony Starkweather, 20, of Mentone, charged with having, receiving and distributing child pornography.
• Cathedral City resident Ronald Sousa, 67, was also arrested Friday and indicted on child pornography possession and distribution charges, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Enrique Garcia, 26, of Hemet was arrested by the FBI early last week after being indicted on charges of having and distributing child pornography, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He made an initial court appearance in Riverside last Thursday and was freed until his arraignment in a Los Angeles courtroom, set for today.
If convicted of having child pornography, the men would face up to 10 years in federal prison. If convicted of receipt or distribution, sentences could range from five to 20 years.
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